Coaches Corner: Altitude Camp with Atlanta Track Club Elite Runners

This winter, Atlanta Track Club Elite packed up their Mizuno gear and headed west for a month of training at altitude in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Two 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trial qualifiers, Sallie Post and Bridget Lyons, shared what a day in the life of an elite runner at altitude looks like.

7:30 a.m. – The morning starts with the gurgle of the coffee pot and ding of the toaster. Each athlete has their own morning routine built on discipline, determination and lots of peanut butter.

Bridget’s go-to pre-workout breakfast: two slices of toast with peanut butter and banana + coffee

10:00 a.m. – Morning practice. We might run along the banks of the Rio Grande or head up to the Sandia Mountain trails.  Twice a week, we head to University of New Mexico’s track or do tempos at the Los Poblanos Open Space.  The lack of oxygen is a shock, but our bodies adjust, boosting our red blood cells to help transport oxygen to our muscles. This is the physiological appeal of training at altitude – we adapt to running hard in oxygen debt so the same effort at sea level becomes easier.

Bridget’s workout outfit: Mizuno tights with a BreathThermo short sleeve and light jacket. For speedier sessions, she wears the Wave Sonic.

Noon – After strength work or cardio core at the gym, it’s time to eat lunch and rest for several hours. It’s important to use this time to relax, recharge, and re-hydrate.

Sallie’s post-workout lunch: Turkey, avocado and cheese sandwich with garlic powder + apple with peanut butter + tortilla chips

4:30 p.m. – The second session is usually another run. Most of us run 70-85 miles per week including three to four doubles, two workouts, double-digit long runs, and two strength sessions.

Sallie’s favorite long-run outfit: Mizuno Core Short Tight + Mizuno Alpha Atlanta Track Club tee + Mizuno arm warmers. She wears the Wave Shadow or Wave Rider for long or easy runs.

6:00 p.m. – Time to relax in some Mizuno sweats! At night, we cook together and prepare for the next day with therapy such as cupping, air relax pants, stretching, and foam rolling. We go to bed early because the routine starts all over again in the morning.

Favorite end-of-day meals: Salmon, red meat, tofu, rice, vegetables, or fruit.

Being at altitude camp teaches us to make the most of our workouts and helps us hold each other accountable. Despite the physical, mental, and emotional challenges, taking a chance on ourselves is worth it. We commit ourselves to the dream—that very dream of hard-fought victories and PRs.


Catch Atlanta Track Club Elite in action! Follow them on Twitter @ATLtcElite or Instagram @atlantatrackclubelite.


Bridget Lyons, Atlanta Track Club Elite Runner

Bridget walked onto the cross country team at the University of Georgia as a freshman. She later went on to qualify twice for NCAA’s and was the 2010 SEC Champion in the 10,000m. While pursuing a career as a dentist, she competed in the 2016 US Olympic Team Trials. She will again vie for a spot in the 2020 trials in Atlanta.


Sallie Post

Sallie Post, Atlanta Track Club Elite Runner

After attending the College of William and Mary, Sallie decided to pursue a professional running career. She moved to Atlanta in 2016 and shortly after competed in the 2016 US Olympic Team Trials – Marathon. Despite knee surgery in 2017, she made a strong recovery and qualified for the 2020 trials in Atlanta.


Published: May 2018